Monday, June 23, 2008
Calm That Craving Pizza
In the past I've thought product placement (like Coca Cola) in movies and television shows was ultra-cheesy, ultra sell-out. The funny thing is, now that I eat a gluten free diet and know how difficult it is to find delicious gluten free products, I have a lot more appreciation for companies that manufacture food and beverages.
As anyone who lives a gluten free lifestyle can tell you, all flours are not created equally. Flour mixtures are even more unpredictable. Gluten free baking mixes, brownie mixes and pancake mixes vary widely. Two different mixes for pie dough may contain a bewilderingly different mix of flours (sorghum, chickpea, potato, corn, rice, etc.) in different proportions. I have tried mixing flours and xanthan gum myself, and it is hard to do well. It really is a nifty trick to find a balance of gluten free flours that can not only hold together like regular wheat flour AND also taste good.
That is why I now feel so enthusiastic about product placement in this blog... because even though it may be a little cheesy, you may actually really want to know about outstanding gluten free products that I run across.
Tonight's company is called Kinnikinnick, and you can find them on the web here. They create a wide variety of baked goods that you can pick up in the freezer section of most Whole Foods type stores.
I have enjoyed their Tapioca Rice Bread and White Sandwich bread for quite a while. However, the product that has me dancing is their 7-inch Pizza Crusts which come in bags of four.
We threw a huge picnic this past weekend for my sons' birthdays and ordered three 28-inch pizzas - cheese and pepperoni - to feed our guests. It isn't often these days that I really yearn for foods that I can't have... but I will admit that I was really jealous of the three year olds eating slice after slice of greasy cheese and pepperoni pizza. It looked and smelled amazing.
Later in the day, I decided to try and sate my craving the best way I could... so I went on a field trip and discovered these fantastic gluten free pizza crusts at my local market:
Once I returned home the entire process of putting the pizza together and cooking it (start to finish) took less than 30 minutes... and the results themselves were not only delicious, they were heart warming.
The pizza crust itself turns out to be light and soft, crisping nicely on the outside but retaining tenderness on the inside and under the sauce. I highly recommend them! (For one of my new pizza recipes using Kinnikinnick crusts, click here!)
Calm That Craving Pizza
What you need:
To make one individual pizza... (multiply proportionally to make more)
1 7-inch Kinnikinnick Pizza Crust
1/4 cup Fresh crushed tomatoes (blended in Cuisinart)
1/4 cup gluten free tomato sauce or marinara sauce
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded or ground
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and separated from stems
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
parmesan cheese to taste
Optional: 4 thin slices of salami or sausage, or 1/4 cup sauteed ground beef
How it works:
Preheat conventional oven to 375 degrees F. Place frozen pizza crust on stainless steel cookie sheet. In a small saucepan, pour approximately a tablespoon of olive oil and let heat at medium temperature until warm but not smoking. Add minced garlic cloves and sautee until the aroma begins to exude - but do not let it turn brown. Turn down to medium low. Add fresh blended tomatoes and marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and pepper. Sautee for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently - do not let boil.
With a wooden spoon, pour sauce on pizza crust. This should be to your personal taste - some people enjoy a lot of sauce, others do not. Next, rip up fresh spinach leaves and scatter them on top of the spicy tomato sauce. Sprinkle fresh mozzarella cheese liberally across pizza (again to taste). With your fingers, scatter the black pepper evenly on top of the mozzarella. Finish preparation by grating a small amount of parmesan cheese on top of the entire concoction.
If you are a meat lover, add your salami, sausage or sauteed ground beef between the sauce and spinach layers.
Bake in oven 10 - 15 minutes, until cheese is well melted and crust begins to brown slightly. Let sit for a minute outside the oven before slicing and serving.